Accused killer Adam Matos moments ago told a Florida judge he’d take the stand in his own defense on charges he killed his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child, Megan Brown; her parents, Gregory and Margaret Brown; and Megan’s new boyfriend, Nicholas Leonard.
Matos faces a possible death sentence if convicted of any of the four first-degree murder charges he faces.
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Prosecutors say Matos killed the four, lied about being at the murder scene for several days after the killings, and eventually dumped their bodies about a mile from where they all lived. Neighbors and even pizza delivery drivers testified that Matos was, indeed, at the murder scene long after the victims were first heard from or seen. Matos told those neighbors the family was vacationing in West Virginia.
Matos and Megan Brown had a son who prosecutors say remained at the murder scene with Matos for days after the others were killed. Prosecutors presented evidence that Matos kept him locked in a room, possibly while Matos, under the state’s theory, was trying to dispose of the bodies and clean up the residence.
The judge in the case told Matos yesterday that the decision to testify is his and his alone. He could either take or ignore any advice from his attorneys, she said. It’s more likely than not that the attorneys told Matos not to testify because he has a prior criminal record. Generally, any witness who testifies can be impeached on cross-examination using his or her criminal record, though in this case, the judge said prosecutors would only be allowed to inquire about the number of felony convictions in Matos’s past.
Matos and the Brown family previously lived in Pennsylvania. They had only lived in Florida less than two months before the murders. The court had to engage in the painstaking process of determining whether and how Matos’s Pennsylvania record fit into Florida law in order to determine which previous crimes could be the subject of impeachment. Some crimes that are misdemeanors in Pennsylvania would be considered felonies in Florida, it was revealed late yesterday.
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